Jack put Lisa down gently on the spare bed in his sister’s room that she had used since she was a child, before kneeling down to study her face. She looked so vulnerable. Hypnotised by the rise and fall of her chest, the beat of his heart accelerated, taking him by surprise. The urge to lie down next to her and hold her in his arms was overwhelming. Why hadn’t he realised before that she was so beautiful?
‘How would I know Mother? I haven’t seen him for eleven years. But you can’t be serious? Why on earth would you want to look good for anybody interested in me? Is it some sort of sexual fantasy you have? I don’t have to dress up like a bloody tart to attract a man. I want somebody to love me for who I am and not what you look like! I’ve read The Female Eunuch, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I also know what I want to do with my life, and I don’t have to dress up like a bloody Barbie doll to achieve it. For God’s sake, Mother, why do you always have to talk such bloody rubbish? I don’t have time to go clothes shopping and please, close the door on your way out.’
It’s just dawned on me that cows feature in both Just Say It and An Honest Review. I was brought up on a dairy farm, so maybe that’s the reason? Coincidently, my main character in Just Say It grows up on a dairy farm with a herd of Dairy Shorthorn cattle, Continue Reading
Cupping her hands underneath her breasts, she pushed them up slightly then let them go. Gravity deemed the only way for them to flop was south. She remembered having been inspired by those liberated ladies of the Swinging Sixties who, allegedly, threw all caution to the wind and made a bonfire of their bras. Letting her perky little darlings live free two decades ago might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but that invigorating liberation was having a knock-on effect now.
Just Say It is my first novel, which I ‘finished’ in June 2019 and, I’ve been editing it ever since! It is the first and last time I write a novel pantser-style; I will never throw myself into writing a book again without much-advanced planning.
I still have faith in Lisa Grant and her dysfunctional family, and in 2020 I hope to convince an agent that her story is a viable one. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with few members of the cast.
Elizabeth was born in her grandparent’s cottage on the Ditton Hall Estate owned by Viscount Rutherford. Her mother, Gertrude, was the eldest daughter of Walter Clemmens, Rutherford’s gamekeeper and her father, Edward Campbell, was Rutherford’s son. Poles apart on the social scale, but bound together by a love so strong nothing could tear them apart.
8th October 1959 The day a young Margaret Thatcher first became an MP for Finchley, Elizabeth’s waters finally broke in front of the Aga in the kitchen. She was way over her due date, and Anna had rung a few times during the proceeding weeks, asking if she was okay Continue Reading
Edna Fowler is one of my favourite characters from An Honest Review, every inch of her reminds me of Patricia Routledge’s Hyacinth Bucket.
Edna is a member of DAWG, the Didsbrook Authors and Writers Group and is blessed with an unwavering self-belief that she is about to join the ranks of world-renown authors. She is convinced she is Didsbrook’s answer to J. K. Rowling, hence her rather suspect non-de-plume.
The year is 1965 and, despite her own infidelity, Elizabeth divorces Fergus after exposing his love affair with fellow polo player, Thomas. Fergus and Thomas are made to feel outcasts amongst their friends and are banished from their homes, which makes it impossible for them to stay in the UK. Fergus hears about a remote, ailing vineyard inland from Guia in the Algarve, in need of a little renovation, and they leave the UK to start a new life together in Portugal.
After seventeen years apart, Lisa realises she is still in love with Jack, but after he misinterprets a fond farewell between Lisa and Rory, he flounces off home to NYC. This extract is the lead up to the agonising moment Jack realises he has got things horribly wrong. When you realise what Continue Reading
The year is 1963 and Lisa Grant is four-years-old. Her mother, Elizabeth, has hatched a plan with two families living down the road from to employ a governess to teach Lisa and the neighbours’ young daughters. I confess I am guilty of a case of writer’s revenge when I wrote this, Continue Reading
The reading of Arthur’s Will was expected to be straightforward and that he would dutifully leave his fortune to his grieving widow. A few minutes before her outburst, Lisa had been fighting to control her anger and Elizabeth, as usual, was the focus of her irritation. She’d arrived late, dressed like the Queen about to meet a head of state but, thankfully, not wearing a hat. She waited for the solicitor to pull up a chair for her and sat in wide-eyed anticipation waiting for the reading to start, whilst stifling the odd theatrical tear.
It is the 8th of October 1980, and it’s Lisa Grant’s twenty-first birthday. She has recently been reunited with her father, Fergus, who lays on a party for her at her favourite restaurant in Soho, Fanny’s Bistro. The tables are hastily rearranged to accommodate two uninvited guests, Lisa’s mother, Continue Reading
The first time he invited her back to his flat for a drink after a cocktail party to celebrate the New Year, she took advantage of his inebriated state. He flopped on to the sofa next to her, and she turned toward him, straddling his lap and pinning him down. Covering his mouth with hers, he felt he couldn’t breathe. Although way out of his comfort zone, being pounced on by an eighteen-year-old siren with the sexual appetite of a tigress, resistance was futile. If he had any doubts about the morality of his seduction, Elizabeth had no intention of giving him any time to think about it.
In the foggy waking moments of his hangover the following day, he dismissed what had happened between them for what it was, drunk sex. It would never happen again. He only had a few weeks left in London, and he would make sure he kept a low profile.
The year is 1958 and my main character, Lisa Grant, has not yet been born. I would like to introduce you to her charismatic young father, Fergus. On the brink adulthood, he is still enjoying his carefree life before he meets the force of nature that is Lisa’s mother, Elizabeth.
Lisa Grant is leaving the UK for good to live in The Algarve to work at father’s vineyard. Her car breaks down at Portsmouth where she bumps into old flame Rory who, fortunately for Lisa, is also headed for Portugal. Rory gallantly offers to drive Lisa there and they decide to take their time travelling through Spain and Portugal to do a bit of sightseeing.
Heads turned as Elizabeth walked on to the platform. She was a beautiful young woman, a technicolor ray of light illuminating a black and white world still struggling to escape the grip of post-war austerity.
They both laughed until they cried; as if cavorting naked was something they had been doing together for years. But the show wasn’t quite over. Lisa, sitting naked and cross-legged on the bed, began to read from her manuscript of They Always Look At The Mother First in her best pissed Foghorn-Leghorn-upper-crust voice.